With the decreasing temperatures and colder weather yet to come, it’s a wise choice to prepare your home for the winter. Here are ten suggestions to help you keep your home in tip-top shape through the winter:
 

  1. Inspect Your Furnace
  2. Have an HVAC professional inspect your furnace and clean ducts.
  3. Replace furnace filters once/month.
  4. Turn down the thermostat when you leave the building. Consider installing a programmable thermostat.
  5. If your home is heated by a hot water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.
  6. Remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace.
  7. Get the Fireplace Ready
  8. Cover or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.
  9. Have a chimney sweep remove soot and creosote if the chimney has not been cleaned in a while.
  10. Store firewood in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
  11. Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.
  12. Check the mortar between bricks and tuckpoint, if necessary.
  13. Check the Exterior, Doors, and Windows
  14. Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them.
  15. Use weatherstripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home; caulk windows.
  16. If your home has a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with plastic shields.
  17. Switch out summer screens with glass replacements from storage. If you have storm windows, install them.
     
  18. Inspect Roof, Gutters, and Downspouts
  19. Add extra insulation to the attic to prevent warm air from creeping to your roof and causing ice dams.
  20. Check flashing to ensure water cannot enter the home.
  21. Replace worn roof shingles or tiles.
  22. Clean out the gutters. Use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris.
     
  23. Service Weather-Specific Equipment
  24. Drain gas from lawnmowers.
  25. Replace worn rakes and snow shovels.
  26. Clean, dry and store summer gardening equipment.
  27. Purchase bags of ice-melt/sand.
     
  28. Check Foundations
  29. Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from the foundation.
  30. Seal up entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
  31. Tuckpoint or seal foundation cracks.
  32. Inspect sill plates for dry rot or pest infestation.
  33. Secure crawlspace entrances.
  34. Install/Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  35. Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and/or water heater.
  36. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work properly.
  37. Buy a fire extinguisher, or replace an extinguisher older than 10 years.
  38. Prevent Plumbing Freezes
  39. Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.
  40. Drain all garden hoses.
  41. Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.
  42. Drain air conditioner pipes. If your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off.
  43. If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees.
     
  44. Prepare Landscaping & Outdoor Surfaces
  45. Trim trees if the branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires.
  46. Ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned to prevent winter injury.
  47. Move sensitive potted plants indoors to a sheltered area.
     
  48. Prepare an Emergency Kit
  49. Buy indoor candles and matches/lighter for use during a power shortage.
  50. Store contact numbers for your utility companies in your phone.
  51. Buy a battery back-up to protect your computer and sensitive electronic equipment.
  52. Store extra bottled water and non-perishable food supplies, blankets and a first-aid kit in a dry and easily accessible location.
  53. Prepare an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency